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MrsBJJr Jan 16th, 2007 11:38 AM

My husband and I are going on our first trip to Rome/Tuscany/Venice and have a 6 hour stop in Florence.

We are not really art lovers, although I would like to see the David (although the replica of the David in where it was intended to be might suffice for me).

Do you HAVE to love art to go to these cities? I almost feel out of place.

What suggestions for doing 6 hours in Florence this May????

Please HELP!

phyllisnovotny Jan 16th, 2007 11:44 AM

David is about all to see - unless you are a true art lover. We did enjoy the music part of the museum that is easy to miss if you don't look for it. We loved just walking around Florence and the shopping is Great! You will love Tuscany, there are so many wonderful places to stop - Lucca, Pisa, Seinna depending on whether you are driving or if you are on a tour bus - there is much more to see and do then just the art museums in all these places. We spent 4 days in Rome and I wish we had more time there. The people are nice, great food and just to think of the history there is incredible. - Just my 2 cents though.

vinolover Jan 16th, 2007 12:09 PM

For such a brief time you would not want to go into a museum if you are not an art lover. I had a friend who like you doesn't care much for art and didn't enjoy her visit to Florence (but she was there several days and simply thought her time was better spent elsewhere).

However there is much to see in Florence even if you just enjoy walking around and soaking up the atmosphere. The magnificence of the Duomo is great, even if you don't want to visit the church itself the piazza with the Duomo and the Baptistry is lovely. There are great pedestrian only shopping streets in this area as well.

Walk down to the Piazza della Signoria and at least see the replica Statue of David, it stands where the original stood for hundreds of years. Then buy a gelato and stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, a classic scene of Florence and the Arno river. Poke around the shopping stalls near San Lorenzo.

Have lunch, stop at an outdoor cafe and have a glass of wine, stop at a bar and get an espresso, you can easily spend six delightful hours in Florence without stepping foot in a museum, church or gallery.

Nonconformist Jan 16th, 2007 12:21 PM

If you don't like art, you might perhaps be interested in the science history museum (but its only open one or two days a week) or the archaeological museum?

travelhorizons Jan 16th, 2007 12:27 PM

See the Duomo and climb up to the top of the dome ... but first, read "Bruneschelli's Dome." It will help you appreciate what you're looking at. It's an incredible story (and engineering feat).

Beyond that, find a walking tour of Florence, either a downloadable one online ... or one that has a guide that you can join.

ira Jan 16th, 2007 12:30 PM


A. You don't have to be an "art lover" to appreciate the glories of Florence.

B. >although the replica of the David in where it was intended to be might suffice for me<

You have not seen THE David.

Shortened version for you
Train to Florence SMN:
The Luggage Office is to your left as you leave the train.

From Piazza d' Stazione, walk up via Nazionale to via d'Ariento and the Mercato Centrale, wander through.

Take any street going NE to Via Degli Alfani and go right to the Accademia for The David.

Take via Ricasoli SE to the Duomo and the Baptistry.

From the Campanile, take via Calzaiuoli S (do some window shopping) to the Piazza d' Signoria. Look around, take a break.

Continue S to the Uffizi.

From the Uffizi, walk W along the Arno River to the Ponte Vecchio.

It's been all downhill to this point.

Go W along the Arno from Ponte Vecchio to Ponte S. Trinita and go right. Go left on Via d'Spada to via d'Fossi and go right to Santa Maria Novella. Look around.

SMN is across the square from the train station.

Be sure to have lots of gelato (in a cup, not a cone), take some wine breaks and a light lunch.

Bus routes are at
Buy your ticket before you get on the bus. Stamp it in the yellow box on the bus.

Uffizi and Academia Museum Reservations
The easiest and cheapest way is to call Florence 1016868 (dial around number), 011 (U.S. international access code) 39 (Italy's country code) then 055-294-883 8:30-18:30 M-F and 8:30-12:00 Sat. Florence time. You will get an English speaking operator and in 2-3 minutes YOU CAN RESERVE FOR BOTH. This is through the reservation service at the Uffizi and costs beyond the normal entry fee only about 3 euro for the service. This is MUCH cheaper than the commercial booking services.

You will not be charged for the reservations unless you use them.

Enjoy your day.


Pausanias Jan 16th, 2007 12:45 PM

With only six hours and no appetite for art I'd suggest a walk such as that described by Ira or vinolover. You could look at the Duomo from the outside, or Sante Croce from within. You could buy some leather goods.

I advise skipping the Accademia and the famous David. It looks just like it does on postcards, except from some angles you can see that old Mike got stuck with a piece of marble too thin for the job. Admire Cellini's Perseus in the Piazza della Signoria while on your way to lunch instead.

ira Jan 16th, 2007 01:00 PM

Hi P,

> advise skipping the Accademia and the famous David. It looks just like it does on postcards,..<

Have you seen it since it was cleaned?


KathrynT Jan 16th, 2007 06:35 PM

The replica of David is just not the same as the real thing. The museum which houses David is very small, and if you make reservations (especially for the opening hour) you can go through quite quickly. I think you will kick yourself if you don't see David when you have the opportunity.

buglady59 Jan 16th, 2007 06:42 PM

while David was magnificant, I was not happy when they told me no photographs. Skip david and the other museums and just walk around the city. its compact enough and fun to just wander the streets. and the gelato is to die for.

sharon1306 Jan 17th, 2007 03:30 AM

We aren't art lovers either, but we enjoyed our two nights stay in Florence during our trip to Italy. Do the walk as suggested by other posts. Also, the history of science museum is interesting, like someone else mentioned but not worth doing if you only have 6 hours.

Seeing David was one of the highlights of our trip. If you make reservations in advance, you can be in and out in no time, its a very small museum.

andasamo Jan 17th, 2007 06:37 AM

Seeing the David was also one of the highlights of my trip last March. I'd always wondered what could possibly be so amazing about a statue to make everyone rave about it so. The second I laid eyes on it, I understood completely, it is that magnificent. If you are at all interested in seeing the David, I would strongly suggest a visit to the Accademia. The replica does not even come close to the real thing.

However, I agree with others that just wandering around this beautiful city is a fantastic way to spend time! We loved climbing the Duomo - great views of the city and also really neat to get up close and personal with the frescoes on the interior of the dome.

ira Jan 17th, 2007 06:46 AM

Hi buglady59
>while David was magnificant, I was not happy when they told me no photographs. <

And you didn't take any?

Everyone else does. :)

Lorac1127 Jan 17th, 2007 09:03 AM

David would be my one art suggestion as well.

If and when I return to Florence, David will be my first stop...he is truly magnificent. No photo or video or casting or reprint of any art piece ever replicates the original's spendor.

And, yes, we do respect "no photos" in every museum and church...and my traveling companion is a professional photographer.

tropicalkerry Jan 17th, 2007 09:11 AM

can you take photos without flash, or none at all? If none at all, why?

ellenem Jan 17th, 2007 10:32 AM

Often the cleaning/restoration of an artwork is funded by a corporation. As part of the funding agreement, the corporation will receive reproduction rights to that artwork. Therefore, you can't make your own photograph. Your right to do so has been sold to the corporation. If you want a souvenir image of the artwork, you must buy one of the images for sale--postcards, books, and so forth.

Apres_Londee Jan 18th, 2007 12:53 PM

I'm confused. First, how can any person have absolutely no curiosity whatsoever to see, with their own eyes, at least one or two of Western Civilization's greatest works of art? Second, why would any such person invest the time and money necessary to travel all the way to Italy?

I realize not everyone is a so-called "art lover" (whatever that's supposed to be), and everyone has their own preferences, and there is more to the world than the insides of museums, but honestly.

Aleckii Jan 18th, 2007 01:38 PM

Hi MrsBJJr,

My trip to Florence sounds similiar to yours. After a trip from Rome to Pisa, where we'll spend only a few hours snapping up photos, we'll try to reach Florence as soon as we can before catching the evening train to Venice.

I also decided (at some point or other), to totally cut David out of my trip, but reading this thread really made me ponder, really, I'm already in Florence, why not visit one of the most celebrated artistic works in history?

And ira! Lol! How true. We were at the Louvre last year, I stole a shot of Mona Lisa. And in Catherine's Palace in St. Petersburg? Stole a shot of the Ember's room too. Even in Red Light District, Amsterdam- I took a shot at the 'displays' there... Quite nervously and quite hastily.

I read that flash photography spoils the art work, decreases its value, etc, I respect that, so I did so without flash. Are we really wrong to want to keep something in our memory? Especially something that Significant? I think this question is debatable.

And yeah, thanks for all your suggestions (and you for starting the thread, Mrs BJJr), I'm going to use this thread for my trip this February.

Oh, gelato, where to buy the best possible ones in Florence?

ira Jan 18th, 2007 01:44 PM

Hi Alecki,

The reason for not using falsh to photograph art work is that the bright light causes degradation - even on stone and metal.

Don't bother looking for the "best" gelato in Florence. Every place that makes their own will have one flavor superior to anyone else's.

I relaize that this means that you will have to try the product at every gelateria that you pass, but you must be strong. :)

Many people recommend Vivoli, Via Isole delle Stinche, 7/R


Apres_Londee Jan 20th, 2007 09:44 AM

Okay, I feel bad about being so short in my earlier post. It wasn't very nice or helpful, although the exaspiration was genuine.

MrsBJJr, I believe that everyone has the capacity to appreciate art. You mention you would like to see Michelangelo's David. What is it that makes you feel you would like to see this sculpture?
There must be something that has made you interested.

You mention that seeing the replica might suffice. For some it does, for others, not. The only way for you to find out whether it would suffice for you, is to see both the original and the replica for yourself and compare the two. :)

There are lots of ways to nuture your interest in David. What are your interests? You can read about the life of Michelangelo, or Florence in the late 15th/early 16th centuries, or even the history of the physical statue itself. Or about marble. Or marble quaries. Or chisels and tools. Or labour practices. Or the copyright issue. Or the history of tourists coming to Florence to see this David.

You don't have to overwhelm yourself with the idea of all this "art" and feeling out of place in Italy. Narrow in on a few pieces you feel you would like to see (such as Michelangelo's David in Florence), and do some homework before your trip.

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